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Poco X3 NFC full hands on Review | Is is the best Phone under 20000?

Poco X3 NFC user interface icons

So I wasn't planning on covering this phone. I mean sure it has a lot of good things going for it but i thought okay it's just another really good value three to four hundred dollar phone.
But then a couple of days ago when it was officially announced i saw the price 199 Euros.

Whats in the Box of Poco X3

Okay i'll take a proper look as far as the packaging is concerned there isn't a single indication that you bought anything less than a flagship.

Poco X3 NFC Box

It's a weighty box that comes with an insert first with a couple of manuals and a clear transparent case you've got a Poco sticker which is backwards for some reason.
Then a full sheet of stickers
The smartphone
A USB C cable
And a pretty hefty charger

Poco X3 Specifications

I'm going to be honest with you when I found out the price of the phone i had absolutely no idea what to compare it to because yes it does have some obvious caveats but still the spec sheet on this phone completely wipes the floor with everything even close to its price range

  • A 6.6 inch full HD plus HDR 10 120 hertz display
  • A  5160 milliamp hour battery with powerful 33 watt charging right out of the box
  • 64 megapixel quad camera setup
  • 20 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Paired with the new Snapdragon 732G which is up to 15% faster than the Snapdragon 730G Which in itself was already an upgrade over the mid-range 730.
  • It's got 6 GB of RAM
  • It's got a dual speaker setup and actually a very capable dual speaker setup using the normal bottom firing one but also the earpiece speaker which actually comes out through the second port above the phone
  • It's got a headphone jack
  • It's got a status LED
  • It's even IP53 splash proof

Tell me that's not impressive, tell me that doesn't completely destroy your existing perceptions of value for some perspective.
Here in the India this kind of price buys you a 2020 Samsung Galaxy A21s and putting these two phones side by side feels a bit like playground bullying like we have two phones from a different decade, let alone year and you know what even when you're using it.

Galaxy A21s vs Poco X3 NFC

It almost lives up to that hype that pretext created by its spec sheet almost that's the important word.
It is built well i mean the back is plastic as you would expect and they haven't really tried to hide it but you know it's not cheap. It has an aluminium alloy frame, It has Gorilla glass 5 on the front and i would say i'm growing kind of fond of this racing stripe. You've got down the middle, it breaks up the monotony on the back.
They've managed to make a camera module that looks legitimately cool and powerful although there is a fair bit of a protrusion.

Poco X3 Display

This is a big phone I'm talking like 2020 flagship sized phone so not for the faint-hearted but that size isn't wasted.
This is an LCD display not OLED so viewing angles suffer
It's not the brightest display and there does seem to be an ever so slight amount of ghosting but it's not at all a bad display

Poco X3 NFC Display review

It doesn't have that over sharpened look of cheap LCD panels and it looks like Xiaomi's kind of compensated for the less vibrant colors by increasing the saturation of their icons and some UI elements plus the inbuilt sunlight mode does seem to keep the brightness manageable even outdoors.
Whatever brightness you set it at, this is an all-day phone. This is an 8 hour to an 11 hour screen on time device.
You can wake up in the morning eat your breakfast, watch Netflix, eat lunch, watch Netflix, eat dinner, watch Netflix and you will easily make it to bedtime.
Thanks in part to a display that can somewhat adjust its refresh rate to match the content you're consuming.
Poco X3 Camera

On a surface level, the camera system looks wildly impressive.
You're actually getting an almost identical setup to the Xiaomi MI Note 10 a phone that has a good camera for a 300 Euro device.
Annoyingly two of these four cameras the 2 megapixel macro and 2 megapixel depth cameras, they're practically space fillers but the main camera and the Ultrawide are capable
I've taken a fair few photos with both and i would go as far as to say detail is good and dynamic range is very good.

Poco X3 NFC camera review

Even the front camera produces sharp photos in favourable lighting but also up against harsh backlighting and there is honestly a truckload of camera features here.
Like potentially more than i've ever seen on any phone ever.
Plenty of interesting filters some great like gold vibes and others not so good
  • There's a front and back mode which lets you well take video on the front and the back
  • You can clone yourself by leaving the phone still and you moving into different positions
  • There's slow motion
  • There's vlog mode
  • There's long exposure and of course night mode which is okay
It's actually noticeably not flagship level and because the camera doesn't have any optical image stabilization in the dark it can't keep its shutter open for very long without blurring and so the end result is that the night mode photos are not afraid to get a little grainy.

Poco X3 NFC camera specifications

The focusing is a bit hit and miss too.
But yeah, I mean for 200 Euros it's a good camera system

Poco X3 Software and Interface

Do  you know what before i pick the phone up i was convinced the haptics would suck i was convinced that when you're typing on it it would sound cheap but Poco have put at least some care into making sure this feels nice to use
Typing is firm and responsive
Scrolling to the bottom of the list you feel some physical impact and just generally the MIUI 12 that this runs on is a polished bit of software.

Poco X3 NFC display front lcd

What you get here is almost identical to the MIUI 12 seen on Xiaomi's MI 10 ultra but the Poco launcher they use is a little bit lighter and a little bit less animated
But this is where the shadiness starts. I can't help but feel like with this phone in particular the company have used every trick in the book to basically artificially lower its price
Starting with baking ads right into the software,
You see them when you install an app
You see them when you uninstall an app
You even see them in first party apps that come pre-loaded on the phone and i kind of feel like a few times when i've tried to do things it actually adds steps that don't need to be there just so it can show you an extra ad on the way

Poco X3 Display

Now in case it wasn't already clear I don't like this, It just cheapens the experience and it feels shady that it wasn't made clear to you, like the practice of putting ads into a product i'm completely fine with
Amazon did it with their kindle devices to try and bring them to an even more affordable price point but at least they clearly stated that on the product page.

Poco X3 Pricing

199 Euros is the price that Poco is shouting about. It's the price that the media is shouting about and while you can right now get this for 199 Euros
This price is specifically a limited run early bird price at retail it'll be 30 Euros higher.
It kind of feels like when they were building this phone, the company did everything they could to try and hit that 199 price point.

They realized part way through that they couldn't but they still tried to find a way to show this number during their presentation
Also the phone only has 64 GB of internal storage which you know it's not unheard of at this price but only 44 GB of it is usable and if you do want to upgrade to the 128 model that'll cost you 249 Euros or 269 without the early bird discount
That is an extra 25 over the base model and you're not even getting any extra RAM
You're literally paying 25 percent of the value of the phone just for an extra 64 GB of storage.

Poco X3 NFC back camera image

Thankfully there is micro SD card support which means i would never really recommend that upper model but you can tell that the strategy here is to hook people in with 199 and try to funnel them towards actually paying 269
In India the Poco X3 NFC is expected to be priced at 16999 INR and it is expected to launch on 22 Sep 2020.

Conclusion - Our View about this Poco X3 NFC Smartphone

Okay so a lot of stuff on this phone does feel deceptive.
I'm not a fan of it but at the same time we can understand why they're doing it and it would be unfair to say that all of this stuff actually ruins the phone.
Admittedly it does sound less cool being a 229 Euro phone with ads and a mid-range camera setup but at the same time i can think of a lot of people who would pick this phone up use it and just not care about the ads and it doesn't change the fact really that this is still beastly hardware for the price Although that said the performance is not ultra smooth sailing
The scrolling is fine if i go to the right but almost without fail when I scroll to the Google feed, it lags so i disabled it HDR photos.They take a little longer to process.

Poco X3 NFC in hand review

And while i do love side mounted fingerprint scanners and this one actually does the scanning extremely quickly it takes a fair bit of time to process that information
Also every now and again when you're closing an app or when you're pulling up and holding to open up multitasking it's not as smooth as it should be
But to be fair a lot of this doesn't feel like a lack of power, It may be just a lack of optimization for this new chip. So fingers crossed it improves
And gaming is good, the upper mid-range chipset delivers an upper mid-range gaming experience oh and if you're wondering why the literal name of the phone is the Poco X3 NFC?
Whoa it's because it has NFC shocker, I know it's for things like Google pay and it's good to see but at the same time it's not a particularly rare feature so it's quite strange to see it in the name of the device.

Poco X3 NFC fast charging review

And finally they're marketing this camera setup as a flagship 64 megapixel quad camera which although the camera is not bad
Its absolutely not true if you look up the Sony imx682 used in here.
It is not present in a single flagship
This phone doesn't have optical image stabilization like a flagship so video quality is fine but not great especially on the front and those two bottom cameras are in no world flagship.

Poco X3 NFC full phone specifications

Okay so when you break it all down the Poco X3 NFC is not the miracle that it first might seem
You can gradually see how they've managed to bit by bit to make decisions that allow for this 199 Euro price tag but even then there's just so much good stuff going on here especially that battery life that if you can put up with a few ads every now and again then this is the best phone you can get for under 250 Euros or approx INR 16999 in India.
It is good enough that if someone had told me it was 400 i'd have believed them
So that was all about the all new Poco X3 NFC. Do let us know what you feel about this particular phone by commenting down below and also check out our other smartphone reviews.

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